Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ann Widdicombe on Global Warming

Ann Widdicombe MP read Latin, then Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and now writes on global warming, about which she is in denial.

She offers three facts, or should that be, "FACTS".

“It is a FACT that there has been no global warming this century”
By “This century” Ann means “The last eight years and two months”. Politicians find it hard to leave their spinning habits behind.
Over the last 100 years there is clear evidence of global warming.

”It is a FACT that global temperature has varied throughout history and scientists explain this by changes in solar activity”.
The scientists at the Royal Society do not agree with Ann: While there is evidence of a link between solar activity and some of the warming in the early 20th Century, measurements from satellites show that there has been very little change in underlying solar activity in the last 30 years there is even evidence of a detectable decline and so this cannot account for the recent rises we have seen in global temperatures.

“It is a FACT that not all climate scientists agree with the prevailing orthodoxy. Those who dare to dissent are treated with about as much respect as Galileo was by the medieval church”.

The evidence for the present consensus is here:

Galileo was threatened with imprisonment, and spent many years under house arrest. I do not know of any such threats against climate change sceptics.

"Even if the predictions are true all they offer is a small increase in the globe’s temperature over the next hundred years. As Lawson (That's Nigel Lawson, not yours truly) points out, the difference between the temperature in Finland and that in Singapore is vast but in both countries people thrive and so do their economies. "

Ann and Nigel are confusing the difference between regional climate and the atmospheric system, between open and closed systems. Regional climates are open systems, and humans can adapt to them. The atmospheric system is closed, apart from solar inputs and terrestrial radiance. There is no useful analogy to be drawn between the climate of Finland (-20*C to +30*C, variation 50*C) and Singapore (+22*C to +72*C, variation 52*C) and the planet, where an average increase of 6*C would be absolutely devastating to terrestrial ecology.


TonyD said...

"You may believe one side of the argument or the other or, like me, you may suspend judgment"

Glad to see she is still being impartial, although you might think that might involve checking the FACTS rather than simply taking the word of an old colleague.

I read Lawson's book back when I was still in denial - the reason why no British publisher touched it was because it was full of complete and utter.....Widdecombes

Anonymous said...

Solar output is changing dramatically right now, the next 10 years will see if that theory pans out. The old cycle spots are even still appearing,

If the solar theorists are right the next decade should see dramatic cooling, we just have to wait and see...

DocRichard said...

Hi Anonymous

A new sunspot cycle, cycle 24, began in January 2008, and so solar irradiance of the earth can be expected to increase over the next 11 years, causing increased global warming. However, the direct irradiance will only increase by 0.1%. There may be indirect effects through increases in cloud cover, which would have a cooling effect, which would be most welcome, buying us time to control the situation. The jury is still out on the magnitude of this cloud seeding effect.

The hope that sunspots accounts for most of climate change is dashed by this graph
which shows that CO2 levels correlate with earth temperatures far better than sunspots.


DocRichard said...


In the end, this is not an academic debate, because we and our children are part of the experiment. The consensus among scientists (yes, with a few exceptions, as is always the case in science) that we should decarbonise our economy as a matter of urgency.

Say we decarbonise our economy, and it turns out that AGW theory is wrong? Well, we will have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in insulation and taken thousands out of fuel poverty. Not bad, but that's not all. We will also have reduced the shock of Peak Oil and Peak Gas. Also not bad.

In short, it is a case of Pascal's Wager all over again, but with the existence, not of God, our children's future in the scales of judgment.

Anonymous said...

It funny that almost all the sceptics also believe in the illusion called the "free market"

DocRichard said...

This would be because they believe in the philosophy of ,Individualism, which generates free market capitalism, and also, if not modified by Homer's epiphany, selfishness.

Anonymous said...

"when I was still in denial" TonyD.

What made you change your mind, Tony? Would it work for others?

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